This year I noticed a trend with young performers and their parents when setting priorities. Too many commitments and trying to juggle them and keep everyone happy is a losing battle but the insanity of it continues. For theatre families, double booking then trying to negotiate with all parties involved is a huge no no!
If you are fortunate enough to have your talent recognized by being cast in a show your commitment to all rehearsals, performances and pre-production preparation is a requirement. It is your job! Not a play date or a social date on your calendar. Too many parents not realizing the huge disrespect it conveys when they schedule conflicts on their calendar try to convince the director their child will work extra hard, will be ready and not let them down. But they already have let the production down by even asking for permission to be absent or even worse, pulling a no show. Of course their child immediately learns that responsibilities can be brushed off when they are inconvenient. And the reputation of being “flaky” and unreliable is born.
The pros realize that live theatre is a team sport. If a single player is late, absentor performs badly, the whole team is affected. That is why “The show must go on,” mind set is “law” in the theatre world. You don’t let your team down if you can help it. Emergencies are another matter entirely, of course.
By assuming a child won’t be missed because he or she may not be in a leading role is the worst mistake a theatre parent can make. Be sure you talk about any potential conflicts before you make a commitment. Let the director decide if it can be worked around. Set your priorities before you audition so directors will want to work with you again and will recommend you to other colleagues. You don’t want a reputation that you are not a team player!